Spiritual Alka-Seltzer®

One of my most favorite TV commercials was the animated cartoon depicting a man arguing with his stomach. This late 60s advertisement was produced for Alka-Seltzer. I was reminded of this commercial recently while reading from Emanuel Swedenborg’s symbolic interpretation of Revelation 10:9,10. These two verses deal with John of Patmos eating a book given to him by an angel.

Swedenborg’s interpretation inspired me to rewrite the famous Alka-Seltzer commercial—but with a spiritual twist that adds symbolic language into the dialogue. I will play the role of the off-camera narrator.

(Open on man arguing with his stomach)


ME: “Hey you two, what’s all the commotion about?”

MAN: (Pointing to stomach) “He won’t quiet down!”

STOMACH: “You won’t stop eating all that spicy food! (Points at man) “You want heartburn?”

MAN: “You should be used to me by now!”

STOMACH: “Did you have to eat that book, too?!! Who do you think you are—John of Patmos?”

MAN: “I was hungry for something more. Swedenborg’s book on theology is the sweetest thing I have ever tasted! Why wouldn’t I eat it all up?”

STOMACH: “Well this time you bit off more than you can chew. How am I supposed to metabolize all that new material? I’m the one who has to convince your blood to absorb this new material.”

MAN: “You always get upset by my choices!”

STOMACH: “It isn’t sitting well with me. The book contains so many new and unexpected levels of information about God and Scripture that I quickly suffer spiritual indigestion when I start breaking it down. Besides, your blood cells still crave your old ways and worldly tastes. I can’t change your blood chemistry overnight!”

ME: “Fellas, fellas, you obviously haven’t heard of the Swedenborgian Church.” (Directed at stomach) “Man does not live by bread alone.” (Directed at man) “When you read Swedenborg, help your stomach out. The Swedenborgian Church can help satisfy your taste for new spiritual truth.” (Directed at stomach) “And assist you in bringing these potent new ideas into your very blood and life.”

STOMACH: “Well, I’ll try… if he does.”

TAGLINE:  The Swedenborgian Church. When you hunger for something more.



About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at http://www.staircasepress.com
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2 Responses to Spiritual Alka-Seltzer®

  1. Roger says:

    Dear Edward,
    Since you are not an official member of any of the three Swedenborgian denominations (neither am I), which “Swedenborgian church” are you referring to? My guess is that you are referring to those who read and accept the Writings in whole or accept a substantial part of the Writings to be dubbed “Swedenborgian”, regardless of denominational affiliation.

    I consider myself a Swedenborgian in the latter category – those who accept a substantial part of the Writings . I flirted with the idea of joining the General Church of New Jerusalem (the denomination affiliated with the Bryn Athyn Academy). But I decided against it when I came across materials (on the General Church of New Jerusalem site) indicating that the souls of aborted/miscarried fetuses disappear. As one with a Catholic background, this was unacceptable to me. Nor did I find direct support in the Writings for the view that the souls of aborted/miscarried fetuses have a different fate from that of children who die in infancy. By the way, Candace Frazee sent me a response from Rev. Erik Sandstrom to the same effect – confirming the Bryn Athyn view that I find objectionable.

    I will not join the other Swedenborgian denomination (the one that operates the seminary from which you graduated) because I am a social conservative (even though I am a theological liberal). I cannot countenance a denomination that marries people of the same sex, to be frank.

    Regarding the third Swedenborgian denomination (Lord’s New Church Which Is Nova Hierosolyma) I know very little except that they do not have much of a North American presence.


  2. thegodguy says:

    Hi Roger!

    Haven’t heard from you in awhile. I think there are more than three Swedenborgian denominations – whatever. I sided with you on the issue of fetuses because once conception has occurred the soul has gained formal existence in spacetime (measurement outcome). However, such issues which are beyond my current abilities of perception, I will gladly put off until I get into the spiritual world and get angelic instruction. I keep my mind open on lots of issues that I do not yet fully understand.

    The reason for my attending a “liberal” seminary was not based on my social or political views. It was pragmatic. I was attempting to write a book unifying science and theology (Proving God) and a group scientists and theologians with similar interests had formed an organization there (called the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences – CTNS). For instance, I was able to take a course titled “Neuroscience and Theology.” I didn’t even hang around long enough to attend the graduation ceremony!

    You don’t have to join any Swedenborgian organization or attend church to be Swedenborgian. Repent, practice sincere spiritual love and everything else will fall into place. My only official connection with a Swedenborgian organization is with the Swedenborg Scientific Association (SSA) – at least they are trying to break new ground.

    If you need companionship form your own group of seekers with similar interests.

    There is nothing wrong with the way you think!

    Spiritually yours,

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